A couple of months ago I was contacted by Hungarian Found Footage filmmaker/director József Gallai regarding his 2016 release Moth.
As you know, I love it when indie directors contact me with their work and I was surprised at the unique journey Moth takes the audience on.
About a fortnight ago I was pretty chuffed to see his name pop up again in my mailbox – this time the subject matter concerned his latest Found Footage release, A Guidebook to Killing Your Ex.
Unfortunately, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks traveling to areas of Eastern Europe for family reasons so this review is being published pretty late (sorry József!).
Anyway, better late than never…let’s take a closer look at the film…
The movie is set up as a sort of three-pronged genre attack – Comedy, Drama and Horror. I’m not so sure about the comedy aspect as I found the film leaning more towards the sort of thriller/horror side of things overall (which was great as I’m not a huge comedy fan!).
Anyway, the film follows a heartbroken guy who has decided to shoot a sort of ‘tutorial’ on how to kill an ex-partner. He has been jilted and his ex is now engaged to a new man…and they are soon to be married…
Consider it an online course for murdering your ex lover!
The first thing to hit me about this film was the choice of actor for the lead role – Balázs Szitás brings something to the screen that I have not really encountered before.
I think it’s fair to say that this guy does not have the face or the mannerisms for Hollywood…but this works in his and the film’s favor brilliantly.
I think these days it’s getting harder and harder for filmmakers to find that something ‘special’ to make their creations stand out.
I don’t know if Gallai is aware of this, but he managed it by simply casting Szitás in the main role.
Don’t get me wrong, he ain’t gonna be winning an Oscar for this performance, but I think he will be remembered for it – he has an originality that certainly stands out.
I enjoyed Moth and I certainly enjoyed this – they are both bold, brave and unique in format.
I think the key to this film working so well is the way it has been thought out – Gallai has cleverly sidestepped a few stumbling blocks by adding a few clever moves to the film.
The real ‘elephant in the room’ is the Hungarian angle – I know a lot of you reading this will probably be put off by the idea of subtitles but the majority of this film is filmed in English.
The initial scenes have Szitás’s character explaining to the camera that he is going to be filming the film in English so that it will get a much wider scope when he uploads it online.
A simple yet effective way to film a movie in Hungary and keep the more user-friendly English language in place for the masses!
I also feel that the general cinematography of this effort has moved on since Moth. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly enjoyed Moth, but this had a slightly more ‘adult’ feel to it’s camera angles.
But the main ‘guts’ to the driving factor of A Guidebook to Killing Your Ex has to come from the power of a near enough solo performance.
I don’t know what it is about solo-driven movies but they always seem to have more realism about them – the Found Footage genre works well with them (more often than not!).
The film is patched together from Szitás’s character’s ‘uploads’ to the internet, and this only serves to reinforce the effectiveness of the solo-driven role.
A nice surprise this one – I enjoyed Moth but I did feel that this one was a little more polished around the edges.
This is the second Found Footage attempt I have reviewed by József Gallai and he does seem to be moving in the right direction…
Good performances, clever idea and a unique feel throughout – definitely worth watching.